Polymorphous light eruption

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2008 Jun;24(3):155-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0781.2008.00343.x.


Polymorphous light eruption is the most common photodermatosis, with a prevalence of as high as 10-20% in Western Europe and in the USA. It starts during the second and third decades of life. Although not life-threatening it can severely impair the quality of life, in particular during leisure activities and in outdoors workers. Polymorphous light eruption belongs to the group of so-called idiopathic photodermatoses. This term denotes dermatoses that occur in otherwise healthy individuals from exposure to sunlight or artificial light without the intervention of an exogenous photosensitizing agent. These diseases have two factors in common: they are precipitated by ultraviolet or visible radiation; and their exact pathomechanism remains obscure but is presumably immunologic in nature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photosensitivity Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Photosensitivity Disorders* / etiology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders* / immunology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders* / therapy
  • Phototherapy
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin Tests
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Dermatologic Agents